NOUAKCHOTT: A mass grave containing several bodies was discovered in Timbuktu in northern Mali, recently recaptured from Islamist rebels by French-led forces, a Mauritanian news agency said yesterday.
Three bodies in the grave were recognisable, all of them Arab shopkeepers who had recently been arrested by Malian soldiers and had not been heard from since, according to independent news site ANI.
The discovery was made Friday, ANI reported.
Timbuktu has been the scene of reprisal attacks against Arab and Tuareg residents accused of supporting the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels who seized control of northern Mali for 10 months before being ousted in a French-led campaign launched on January 11.
Hundreds of black Malians looted Arab-owned shops in the city after troops reclaimed it on January 28, in some cases finding arms and military equipment but also carting off televisions, food and other merchandise.
Rights groups have accused the Malian army of summary executions of Tuareg and Arab captives blamed for the rebellion in the north and called on the government to protect light-skinned citizens from reprisal attacks amid growing ethnic tensions.